Shock at number of CCTV cameras used in Hampshire schools

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SCHOOLS across the area have come under fire for using CCTV cameras in their toilets.

Figures show six schools in Portsmouth, Hayling Island, Cowplain and Fareham have cameras either in toilets or changing rooms.

A report also revealed Bridgemary School in Gosport has one of the highest ratios of cameras to pupils in the country.

There is one camera for every 10 pupils at the school.

Headteachers say they prevent bullying, smoking and truancy and do not record anything personal or embarrassing.

But Councillor Peter Edgar, the assistant executive member for education at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘Putting them in places like toilets is not acceptable.

‘We are photographed every time we go out in our high streets and I’m afraid it’s part of life but there does come a point when it does go too far.

‘Schools make their own decisions on these matters and the council is not in a position to do anything about it because schools have complete autonomy.’

The figures were obtained by the Big Brother Watch organisation under the Freedom of Information Act.

Adam Dare, the headteacher at King Richard School, said there were no cameras in his school’s changing rooms.

‘The cameras are only in the outside part of the toilet area and certainly not in cubicles,’ he said.

‘They are there to prevent bullying, smoking and truancy in toilet areas. They can only be viewed under special circumstances.

‘They have been very successful and are virtually redundant now. They have not been viewed for at least a year.

‘We discussed the use of cameras with the student council and they have seen what the images show – absolutely nothing personal or embarrassing.’

Each of the six schools said they only had one or two cameras positioned somewhere in a bathroom or changing room.

And Cams Hill School said its camera, which was installed because of sinks being deliberately blocked, has since been removed.

Nick Pickles, the director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This raises serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren.

‘The full extent of school surveillance will come as a shock to many parents.’